Thanks to continued coal plant retirements and an increased switch to natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions in both the U.S. and the European Union dropped by 1.7% from 2018 to 2019, according to new data released by Global Carbon Project in December 2019. And from 2000 to 2018, the U.S. reduced its CO2 pollution by nearly 10%.

Closer to home, Pennsylvania’s net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions dropped nearly 19% from 2005 to 2016, says new data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

It should be noted that the majority of the decline in Pennsylvania GHG emissions is thanks to the transportation, industrial and electric power sectors — collectively 84% — underlining the benefit of using pipelines to transport energy products, rather than trucks or trains. (It’s not only better environmentally, but the U.S. Department of Transportation has also proven it’s safer.)

On the industrial side, ongoing CO2 emission reductions at the Marcus Hook Industrial Complex (MHIC) in Pennsylvania are contributing to the state’s overall environmental health. CO2 emissions from the boilers at the MHIC are significantly lower today than they were in 2010 — from 1.6 million metric tons in 2010 to just 206,000 metric tons in 2018 — according to data obtained from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s electronic Greenhouse Gas Reporting Tool. 

For reference, the former oil refinery at Marcus Hook was idled in 2011 and acquired by Sunoco Logistics in 2012. In April 2017, Sunoco Logistics merged with Energy Transfer, and the company has since been transforming the former refinery into a world-class natural gas liquids (NGLs) hub — inherently lowering carbon emissions.

More than 5,000 individual workers across nearly 9 million man hours have supported major improvements at the facility, including the construction of an ethane/propane splitter; chilling and storage units for both ethane and propane; and a fractionator that will process NGLs for transportation from western Pennsylvania.

Even more, the expansion of the Mariner East pipeline system, combined with transformations being made at the MHIC over the last six years, means that additional propane is available for delivery to local customers. As more households switch from heating oil to propane for home heating, Pennsylvania’s emissions will continue to drop.

The work continuing to be done at the MHIC is not only employing more Pennsylvania tradespeople, but it is also helping to improve Pennsylvania’s air quality. It wouldn’t be possible without the Mariner East pipeline system, safely delivering NGLs from western Pennsylvania to the banks of the Delaware River — ultimately to fuel our everyday lives and drive our nation’s economy and security.